Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith has been public about living with alopecia and she recently said that she had the condition in common with late friend Tupac Shakur.
Smith says in this week’s PEOPLE cover story that the legendary rapper also had alopecia, the autoimmune disease that causes unpredictable hair loss. “I don’t think Tupac ever talked about the alopecia he suffered from,” she says of the revelation.
The actress and talk show host first spoke about her diagnosis with alopecia in 2018 and has since gone on to become a prominent advocate for awareness surrounding the condition.
Shakur experienced similar hair loss symptoms to Smith, something that she says began for the late rapper around 1991, when he was arrested for jaywalking by the Oakland Police Department in California.
“After he was in Northern California with the police officers that beat him up, he started losing his hair. And his alopecia patterns were far more extreme than mine,” Smith recalls.
She claims that Shakur, who was killed in 1996, kept the details of his alopecia a secret due to societal pressures at the time. “I don’t think Pac ever talked about his alopecia, but he also looked really good with a bald head,” Smith notes. “But that was during a time and during an era that you wouldn’t — he just wouldn’t talk about it.”